No one seems to know why this happens sometimes. In some cases, one can make out a motive…I’ve seen that a lot. However, sometimes, we are treated to no reason at all.
I am talking about complainants who admittedly lie about their allegations. Generally, however, even when that complainant’s lack of credibility is clear to everyone in the room, the prosecution seems to turn a blind eye to that unfortunate fact. . I’ve seen this as well. Sometimes, even when said complainant actually recants.
Even with police witnesses, as we have discussed.
In this story, about which the radio news says criminal charges against the complainant-turned-liar may come, the admitted false complainant remains protected. Her identity has not been revealed, although most criminal defendants have their names and addresses plastered all over the media.
I am referring to the story in the Boston Herald about an 18-year-old young lady (hereinafter, the “Lady”) who police say they located in dense brush using their sirens and calling out to her.
Weymouth Police Captain Richard M. Fuller Jr. said the Lady, when she spoke to detectives for several hours Wednesday, gave a “very vague” account and “did not fully cooperate.” She was wearing duct tape on her hands and feet when she was found and told officers she had been dropped off there by a man who had given her a ride.
That would, in the least, be potential charges of assault, battery and kidnapping.
“She also spoke to investigators about meeting different males on an online website,” Fuller said.
Attorney Sam’s Take On The Lying And The Ludicrous
The full story of this matter has not yet unfolded. However, let’s just take the snapshot of what we have here. It is not terribly unusual that someone who brings criminal charges against someone which are untrue goes through various “Set ups” to help their cause.
Police officers and prosecutors, of course, tend to have a hard time accepting this. The truest response to the incredulous reaction of, “Yeah, I assume she punched her own head several times and banged it against the wall” is “That’s right”.
The fact is, however, that even if you do not want to believe a criminal defense lawyer’s word, when cases like this crop up where there is an admission of lying present …it might be nice if folks in law enforcement took notice and remembered for next time.
They don’t though, and that is what leads to the point of what this story means to you.
There are still many of you who come to me, after being accused, who are shocked when I explain that a complainant’s verbal testimony is enough not only to bring criminals charges against you, but successfully prosecute as well.
“But they are lying!” , the potential client protests.
“The problem”, I explain, “is that the prosecution does not believe that. At this point, the judge does not know that.”
“But it is just he said she said.”
Right. And that can be enough to sustain a conviction.
The fact is that it is hard enough for folks to understand when someone they consider a “known liar” could be believed.
That is bad enough.
Now, add to that the fact that in most cases the Commonwealth will still go forward with their case even if it can be demonstrated that the complainant is a liar or actually wants to drop charges.
Of course, some of this is understandable. There are syndromes out there which bring true victims to try to recant allegations of abuse. However, that is certainly not in every such case.
But the Commonwealth generally thinks that it is.
And so, as we finish out another week, and await the month where ghouls and goblins descent upon and rule my neck of the woods, I leave you with a warning.
Never treat a criminal allegation lightly. The most ridiculous accusation in the mind of most logical people can turn out to be the worst possible experience in the criminal justice system. Nothing is too far-fetched enough for a prosecutor to simply waive it away as nonsense.
Get an experienced criminal defense attorney!
Now, to the extent I have not made you paranoid, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!